In a major new report today the Institute of Public Policy Research say that the COVID pandemic has seen a huge shift in the number of people dying outside of hospital , at home, without adequate palliative care and support.
The report found that there was a 36 per cent rise in deaths in private homes in England in 2020 and a 23 per cent rise in care homes. 600,000 people died across the UK in 2018-19, and projections suggest that the annual death toll will increase 20 per cent between that year and 2031 requiring more support at home for the dying.
The IPPR report highlights the use of non-consensual “Do Not Resuscitate” orders used during the early days of the pandemic as an example of the worst form of end-of-life care. The Care Quality Commission has identified at least 500 cases where the decision was taken without conversation with the dying person or their family.
The report calls for the appointment of 2,700 care champions to coordinate end-of-life services for patients, as well as a £2 billion investment in community care a year to ensure “hospice quality” care in all settings, widely seen as the gold standard of care.
It also calls for the establishment of an “end-of-life academy” open to all workers and carers to improve training.
The Government should implement the report’s excellent recommendations immediately.